President Trump Threatens to Kill White House Press Briefings, Says: 'Lots Happening ... Perfect Accuracy Not Possible'
Donald Trump is shooting back at critics in the media who say he he's lost credibility over his contradictory claims surrounding the firing of former FBI director James Comey
In his latest tweet storm Friday morning, the president threatened to “cancel all future press briefings” — suggesting instead to “hand out written responses for the sake of accuracy.”
His words came minutes after NBC correspondent Nicolle Wallace — a former White House communications chief during the presidency of George W. Bush — told Today that members of Trump’s administration have “zero credibility.”
“I cannot overstate how extraordinary it is,” she said. “I worked in a White House that was far from perfect. But I never was asked to go out and lie. And I never was caught in a lie by a president who went out and contradicted me. Neither was the vice president of the United States. Neither was his senior advisor.”
“What the president does over and over again is create a reality that is completely detached from the reality that he believed in hours before. And no one is immune from whatever he believes to be true in the moment,” she said. “We now have a vice president, a senior staffer in Kellyanne Conway, and an entire press office with zero credibility.
She added: “That White House podium used to mean something and now they send him out to say whatever.”
That was just before 7:30 a.m. ET. By 7:53 a.m. ET, Trump was on Twitter — claiming “the Fake Media is working overtime today!”
“As a very active President with lots of things happening, it is not possible for my surrogates to stand at podium with perfect accuracy!” he wrote. “Maybe the best thing to do would be to cancel all future “press briefings” and hand out written responses for the sake of accuracy???”
Many on Twitter — including ABC’s White House correspondent Alex Mallin — were quick to point out that handing out written responses “for the sake of accuracy” might not work since the first statement released regarding Comey’s firing was itself not accurate.
That statement, released Tuesday, said Trump’s decision to fire Comey was based on the recommendations of Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein.
In an interview just two days after Comey’s bombshell dismissal, Trump seemed to contradict the information from his own administration, saying he was planning to fire Comey even before he received the recommendations from his top Justice Department officials.
“I was going to fire Comey. My decision,” Trump told NBC News’ Lester Holt in an interview that aired Thursday. “I was going to fire regardless of recommendation.”
“He’s a showboat, he’s grandstander, the FBI has been in turmoil,” the president continued. “You know that, I know that. Everybody knows that. You take a look at the FBI a year ago, it was in virtual turmoil, less than a year ago. It hasn’t recovered from that.”
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In the wake of Comey’s firing, politicians, commentators and celebrities alike reacted with shock and outrage — many pointing out that the FBI is currently investigating Trump’s ties to Russia during the 2016 election.
“This is an investigator investigating the White House who was just fired by the White House. This doesn’t happen in the United States”— except in Richard Nixon’s White House during Watergate, said a visibly exasperated CNN legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin on Tuesday.
Former Clinton campaign press secretary Brian Fallon called into CNN to join the chorus of analysts reminding Americans that Comey was in the middle of investigating Trump for collusion with Russia.
“Donald Trump is doing this to get out from under the Russia investigation,” Fallon said. “We need a special counsel inside the Justice Department who does not owe their job to Donald Trump to investigate Donald Trump … Otherwise the firing of James Comey means we’ll never get to the bottom of” allegations of collusion between Russia and the Trump camp.
Trump addressed the investigation with Holt, saying he and Comey spoke multiple times over the course of his presidency so far and that Trump had asked Comey if he was under investigation.
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“I said, if it’s possible would you let me know, ‘Am I under investigation?’ Trump told Holt. “He said, ‘You are not under investigation.’ ”
The president ultimately said he supports the investigation, saying, “Look I want to find out if there was a problem with an election having to do with Russia. Or by the way, anybody else. Any other country. And I want that to be so strong and so good. And I want it to happen.”
He also insisted there was no “collusion between me and my campaign and the Russians,” adding, “the Russians did not affect the vote.”